Some of you may have been surprised when you read that the UFC has apparently called Bigfoot Silva up to the majors. Not only was he coming off of a loss, but there were better fighters out there for the UFC to call up. Well, don’t worry. The UFC has called up arguably Strikeforce’s best fighter, lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, according to a report on MMAJunkie.com. Melendez was scheduled to defend his title against Jorge Masvidal on December 17, but it is yet to be seen how this announcement will affect that. So yeah, don’t worry about the UFC not calling up Strikeforce’s best, most deserving fighters. Unless you love Strikeforce and don’t want to see it go under. Then by all means keep panicking.
The date of his UFC debut, as well as his opponent, has yet to be determined. However, according to the aforementioned report there is the possibility that Gilbert Melendez will get an immediate title shot. If that’s the case, I can’t really make sense out of that. Nick Diaz getting an immediate title shot made sense, given that Georges St. Pierre essentially cleaned out the welterweight division. However, the lightweight division is arguably the UFC’s strongest, deepest weight class. There are already plenty of contenders for the winner of the upcoming rubber match between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. Then again, there’s also the possibility that the Donovan McNabb will lead the Minnesota Vikings to the Super Bowl, so let’s not read too much into what’s possible.
This move shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. We’ve said it before, and it deserves to be said again: Being a Strikeforce champion is essentially being in the on-deck circle for the UFC. Gilbert Melendez, currently riding a five fight win streak with notable victories over Josh Thomson and Shinya Aoki, has essentially cleaned out Strikeforce’s lightweight division. If there’s nothing left for him in Strikeforce, and we’re officially finished pretending that Strikeforce has plans to grow as an organization, then why keep him in the minor leagues?
As for the scheduled bout with Jorge Masvidal, I say let Jorge fight Pat Healy on December 17th. Let it be for all the Rockstar energy drinks that the winner desires. And don’t declare the winner your “new lightweight champion”. It can only end with the winner on the prelims of an upcoming UFC card and you frantically trying to find a new champion.